03 February 2016

How Dangerous Is A Glucosamine Overdose To Dogs?

It sometimes happens that a dog will accidentally get access to and eat a large number of glucosamine supplement tablets or chews, often they swallow a whole bottle. Of course, the owners then want to know if this harmful to their pets and whether they should immediately take the dog to an ER vet or are there ways to handle this on a home remedy basis. Basically how dangerous is this toxicity and what to do about it? Let us talk things over in depth ...

1. In my experience glucosamine overdose is quite common in dogs because often the supplement especially the chews taste attractive to dogs and they will eat as many as they can if given the chance.

The good news, however, is that glucosamine is more of a food supplement than a drug and as such has a very high margin of safety in the dog. Serious toxic overdoses are technically possible but are rare in practice as they would require extremely high amounts of glucosamine to be administered. If you have accidentally given your dog too much of this supplement, or if your dog gained access to the tub and consumed a very large number of pills then in my experience all you would be likely to see in my experience would be a mild transient bout of vomiting and /or diarrhoea and I personally have never seen long terms side effects from such incidents.

But beware if your dog has taken an overdose of a supplement containing additional active ingredients such as zinc or vitamin D the situation then could be much more serious. If in doubt on this point please contact your vet without delay. { MSM and chondroitin are also very non-toxic by the way }

2. So in many cases of excess glucosamine ingestion you will not see any side effects, in this case usually all you need do is to monitor your dog for any odd symptoms, but if vomiting and/or diarrhoea does occur and your dog is otherwise still quite bright then you may consider the following sort of course of action.

A. Start your dog on Pepcid AC ( Famotidine) which is an over the counter drug for a couple of days, a usual dose rate would be between 0.25 to 0.5 mg per pound of your dog's body weight every 12 hours given orally. In this sort of situation where glucosamine is concerned it may be best not to give Pepto-Bismol.

B. Starve your dog for 24 hours but make sure he or she has access to water.

C. The next day feed the dog four or five small light meals in the day. These meals should be the likes of chicken, fish, scrambled egg etc. with a little rice.

D. If he or she then picks up on this diet gradually reintroduce his or her normal diet over the next few days.

3. However where exceptionally large amounts of glucosamine have been ingested and you want to take every possible precaution then one of the best things you can do in this sort of situation is to make your dog sick immediately and try recover the glucosamine that way, If you can do this within the first hour after ingestion then the chances of side effects would be very much minimised.

A commonly used way to induce vomiting in the dog is with 3% hydrogen peroxide { Not hair colouring peroxide } A usual oral dose is one teaspoon { 5 ml } per 10 pounds of body weight. Vomiting should occur within 15 to 20 minutes but if no vomiting occurs, you can safely repeat the process a second time.

{ Also be aware that an ER vet will be able to quickly induce vomiting with prescription drugs }

4. As always if any odd symptoms or unexpected symptoms do set in or if you are in any doubt then you should have your dog checked over by a local vet without delay but in my experience, this would be a very rare event.

I hope this article has been of interest to you.

Dr Scott